Plans for Hitchin flyover given secretary of state approval

CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a new rail flyover just north of Hitchin were given the go ahead by the secretary of state for transport yesterday (Wednesday).

The ongoing proposals, which aim to improve rail services, have caused concern amongst some residents, who claim that vehicles delivering building materials to the site may cause traffic congestion and take over residential areas.

A report by the inspector highlighted that the preferred route between the construction site and the A1 and A1(M) would be via Stotfold road, Wilbury Hills road and the A507.

But it was noted that if this route was used, the Wilbury Hills road would have to be widened, either on a temporary or permanent basis.

“It’s definitely going to cause trouble, and if anything there’s going to be a death” said Alan Hinchliffe, who is the chairman of the Hillcrest Park resident association.

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“We don’t want the road widened, it’s already a race track, and we can hear cars racing round. If it is widened, then more heavy goods vehicles will use it as an alternative route.

“One of the reasons I moved here was because it was away from the traffic and noise.”

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The secretary of state concedes in the report that there would be a number of adverse impacts on local residents, businesses and the environment.

But these are described as “limited” and would be “outweighed by the benefits of the scheme.”

Some recommendations in the report still need to be approved, which may take some months.

The flyover would accommodate trains on the East Coast main line between Hitchin and Cambridge, and will cost in the region of �62 million to build.

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